Credit: Universal Pictures
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According to Friday estimates, “bear” beats “bare” at the box office — but only by a bit!

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s $50 million comedy Ted, which is being distributed by Universal, snuggled up to a huge $20.2 million worth of tickets on Friday.

The raunchy laugher, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and a bong-smoking teddy, is headed for the second-best debut ever for an R-rated comedy, behind only The Hangover Part II. Wahlberg’s last summer comedy, 2010’s The Other Guys, earned $13.1 million on its first Friday on the way to a $35.5 million start. If Ted follows the same trajectory (and I see no reason why it shouldn’t), it could take in a truly remarkable $55 million this weekend.

Close behind in second place, Warner Brothers’ stripper tale Magic Mike stripped moviegoers of a whopping $19.4 million on Friday — $2.1 million of which was earned at midnight shows. The guilty pleasure destination movie (or “guilt-free” as our critics explain) will likely be quite front-loaded, and I expect a low weekend multiple.

In 2008, another “event” movie, Sex and the City, opened with $26.8 million on its first Friday, then dipped 34 percent on Saturday, and another 28 percent on Sunday. I’d expect a similar story for the Steven Soderbergh drama, which is also fueled by groups of female moviegoers. Fortunately for Warner Brothers, that would still give Magic Mike a dazzling $45 million over its first three days.

Last weekend’s chart victor, Brave, dropped by 58 percent from its first Friday to $10.3 million yesterday. Don’t get too concerned, Princess Merida enthusiasts. While the Pixar animation won’t win a second frame, it should get a big boost over the rest of the weekend, and finish with a more family-friendly 40 percent drop to $36 million.

Tyler Perry’s latest Madea’s Witness Protection started just a touch behind, also earning $10.3 million on Friday, almost exactly the same as the $10.5 million that his last Madea picture, Madea’s Big Happy Family, earned on its first Friday in 2011. That film went on to gross $25.4 million in its opening weekend, and that’s right about where Witness Protection should finish up as well.

Way further down the chart, Disney’s family drama People Like Us proved dead on arrival. The earnest tale, which has earned solid reviews overall, grossed only $1.4 million on Friday and will be lucky to pass the $4 million threshold over the full frame.

1. Ted – $20.2 million

2. Magic Mike – $19.4 million

3. Brave – $10.3 million

4. Madea’s Witness Protection – $10.3 million

5. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – $3.6 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute box office updates.

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